Catholic Culture Dedication
Catholic Culture Dedication

When the state decides if you're the baby's parents

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Jul 06, 2016

This Indiana court ruling, requiring the state to list both members of a same-sex couple on a child's birth certificate, nearly escaped our notice. It's not the first such court ruling; it won't be the last. And the implications are frightening.

When the Supreme Court unilaterally re-defined marriage, that ruling tossed away the age-old presumption that marriage is oriented toward the begetting of children. When a man marries a woman, the law assumes that her children are his children. Even if that wasn't always the case, the system protected the rights of parents; the state could not suddenly intervene and take away your children except under the most extraordinary circumstances. 

The law has always made provisions, too, for the special cases when someone adopted a child, or became a child's legal guardian. These steps required a formal legal process, with safeguards to prevent abuses.

But now the state ignores biology, and instead registers the will of the couple to have custody of the child. It doesn't matter that only one-- or perhaps neither-- is a biological parent. It doesn't matter that there may be a surrogate mother or a sperm donor somewhere, with no rights at all. Two people are registered as parents solely because the state says they are parents.  

But if their status as parents depends on a government's decision, then your status as parent depends on a government decision. That might look at first like an obscure legal point, but it has profound implications. Is your child a gift from God or from the government? 


Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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